John Winthrop was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first major settlement in New England after Plymouth Colony. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan "city upon a hill" dominated New England colonial development, influencing the government and religion of neighboring colonies.
Winthrop was first tutored at home, and then probably went to a grammar school, although there are no records indicating this.
He did not graduate from the college.
John followed his father in practicing law in London, which would have brought him into contact with the city's business elite.He was also appointed to the county commission of the peace, a position that gave him a wider exposure among other lawyers and landowners, and a platform to advance what he saw as God's kingdom.
In 1634-1635 he was a leader in putting the colony in a state of defense against possible coercion by the English government. He opposed the majority of his fellow-townsmen in the so-called "Antinomian controversy" of 1636-1637, taking a strongly conservative attitude towards the questions in dispute.
The Humble Request of His Majesties Loyal Subjects
A Short Story of the rise, reign, and ruine of the Antinomians, Familists and Libertines, that Infected the Churches of New England
Winthrop documented his religious life, keeping a journal beginning 1605 in which he described his religious experiences and feelings.
On the 26th of August 1629 he joined in the "Cambridge Agreement", by which he, and his associates, pledged themselves to remove to New England, provided the government and patent of the Massachusetts colony should be removed thither.